Inverness Conceptual Plan


Partners: Conrad Taves Design Consulting

Facing potential growth after decades of decline, Inverness finds itself at the threshold of a major transition. As the village evolves, it is an opportune time to reflect on the challenges and opportunities ahead. The Inverness Conceptual Plan (ICP) served to identify a clear, shared vision for Inverness' future and outline a series of steps and strategies to achieve it.

The project team used a community-based planning approach to actively involve Inverness residents and enable them to take ownership of their future. Out of these workshops, three core development strategies were identified: to create an artery linking community assets; improve connections and access to the waterfront; and strengthen Central Avenue as the commercial spine. These three development strategies were used as the framework for the planning and development of future housing, transportation linkages, beach infrastructure, and streetscape design enhancements and guidelines. A branding strategy was also developed for Inverness, a community on the renowned Cabot Trail.

The community design standards that were developed recommended streetscape enhancements including street furniture, pocket parks, a central information kiosk, consistent and attractive wayfinding signage, and the consolidation of parking. Facade design guidelines were also included in the ICP, and specified recommendations for ornamentation, colour, materials, entry/access, signage, landscaping, and lighting, with examples of improved facades for existing businesses provided.

The implementation of the ICP involved developing costing estimates for the recommended improvements, with prioritization of projects based on the short, medium, and long terms. The phasing strategy allows Inverness to balance the high costs of necessary infrastructure development with low-cost, high-visibility projects that help build the profile of the community.

Public Engagement

Public consultation and involvement is critical to understanding current challenges and developing long-term goals and immediate actions. Three community workshops were held with the community members of Inverness. The first workshop identified and analyzed Inverness' strengths and issues, providing the framework for the ICP's Big Ideas. The second workshop finalized these Big Ideas with the community, while future development potential was discussed. The final workshop informed draft design and streetscape standards for the village, and determined the vision for Inverness' branding strategy.

A steering committee (which was made up of local residents, elected officials, local entrepreneurs and staff from the development authority)helped the project team understand key issues and opportunities that needed to be integrated into the ICP. The Steering Committee also provided important feedback and direction, helping to shape the community branding strategy and review the team’s interim work prior to the final community workshop.